Free throws, free throws free throws. You can blame the poor first half defense, the awful effort or the nonexistent Caron Butler. But what it comes down to is missed opportunities at the free throw line. Blake Griffin, two-time All-star, mainly known for his highlight dunks, is now more famous for his inability to drain free throws; especially down the stretch. He finished 10-17 from the charity stripe. He was incapable of hitting a pair, and it cost the Clippers the game. Yes, Jordan Farmar sunk an inexplicably WIDE OPEN game winning three point shot at the horn, but the game was lost long before that. The fact that the Clippers allow teams like Minnesota and New Jersey to take them down to the wire is alarming to say the least. Without consistent effort from beginning to end, the Clippers will allow games like these to slip away.
The Clippers, who were down 12 at the half, trailing by as many as 18 in the third quarter, finally grabbed hold of a 2 point lead, 100-98 on two Chris Paul free throws; something he was unable to provide two nights ago to send the game into overtime against Minnesota. Only 8 seconds remained in the game. If you follow the Clippers, and listen to the telecast, Lawler’s Law was in full effect. “First to 100 wins, it’s the law.” And then it happened. The LA product and former Laker Jordan Farmar drained the game-winner. The Clippers fell to 2-3 on their current 6 game trip which concludes in San Antonio Friday night. The only bright sport of the night is another Lakers loss, which keeps the Clippers percentage points ahead of their inner city rivals in the brutal Western Conference.
It didn’t matter that Randy Foye impacted the game amid all the trade rumors surrounding the Clippers. They need a consistent scoring shooting guard, and you know he hears the chatter. Jamal Crawford. Ray Allen. Randy Foye. He isn’t the brand name within that group. However, five three pointers and 24 points, including a three-point-play to tie the game with 38 seconds remaining in the game was a bright spot – but a loss to the Nets overshadows everything.
Chris Paul had a very impressive game as well, however his 5 turnovers and the loss, again, will overshadow the effort. It is probably better the Clippers lost this game because had they won, it most certainly would not have been well deserved. And if they were to win, they would not be feeling the sting they need to feel. They have played so poorly since the break, they are lucky to still be sitting pretty at third in the West. Teams do not escape victorious very often when three players shoulder the majority of the scoring (Griffin 28, Foye 24, Paul 22), thus an open memo to Caron Butler, Mo Williams and Deandre Jordan: Help your teammates. If you dont score, at least provide the effort.
It’s highly unlikely the Clippers will finish this trip at 3-3 playing in San Antonio, however, perhaps back-to-back humiliating losses will allow for a huge bounce-back win against a team who stole the last meeting in Los Angeles. They know as well as anyone that a 2-4 trip would be devastating to their confidence and psyche going forward.